Long Island estate planning lawyers can help you to create a last will and testament so you can specify who you want to leave assets to. However, while a will is a standard estate planning document that many people use, it may actually not be the best or only tool that you should use for the creation of your estate plan. You want to ensure you have an appropriate plan in place that actually protects your assets and provides for your beneficiaries and you should talk with an experienced attorney to help you to find out what tools will allow you to accomplish these goals.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates, PLLC can help you to identify the role of a will in your plan and our Long Island estate planning lawyers can also assist you with making a determination regarding whether a will is a sufficient estate planning tool or whether you should be making use of other options such as trusts.
There are a number of key downsides to using a will to transfer assets, which could be clear indicators that a will is the wrong approach. Some of the big reasons why you may not want to use a will to transfer your assets include the following.
When you make a will, you get to specify who will inherit. However, you do not get to retain control of how the money is used after you have passed it on to new owners. While you could express a preference for what money is to be used for, generally a will does not give you the opportunity to impose binding obligations on heirs or beneficiaries to use assets that you leave them as you see fit.
If you want more control over when and how your loved ones get the inheritance you have provided for them, you can use a trust. When you create a trust, you can name a trustee who will manage assets and who will have a fiduciary duty to follow the instructions set forth in your trust document. For example, if you don’t want a child to receive an inheritance until after graduating from college, the assets can be held in trust and managed by the trustee until such time as the condition imposed — a degree — has been met.
A Lengthy Asset Transfer Process
Another big downside to using a last will and testament to control what happens to your assets is that all of your wealth that you left to heirs or beneficiaries in a will is going to have to transfer through the probate process. The probate process can be costly and it can also take a long time – sometimes around a year or more. If you have family members who were counting on an inheritance you have left them to provide for them after the loss of your income due to your death, your family could face financial difficulties as they await the end of the probate process and the transfer of your wealth.
The Possibility of a Big Tax Bill
If you have a large estate, you could be subject to state and federal estate tax. Your estate may have to pay a substantial amount of money in estate tax after you pass on. A will gives you no tools at all to protect your assets from being lost due to estate tax or to reduce the amount of estate tax that is due. There are other legal tools that can help you to minimize the tag bill triggered by your death, so if you are concerned your estate could be subject to taxation at the state or federal level, you should talk with Long Island estate planning lawyers who can help you find ways to protect your wealth.
Getting Help from Long Island Estate Planning Lawyers
Long Island estate planning lawyers at Mark S. Eghrari & Associates, PLLC will work with you to determine if the downsides to a will outweigh the benefits, such as the simplicity of creating a will. We can also work with you to use other tools, such as trusts and pay-on-death accounts, that will facilitate a lower-cost and more timely transfer of assets so you can best protect your loved ones.
To find out more about how our firm can help you, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online at any time to get personalized advice on your estate plan.